The fuel reserves of the world are running dry and humanity requires a new energy source. It should not only satisfy our energy needs but also make the environment a better place to live in. Taking cognizance of their fuel consumption, countries all over the world are in a lather to find a renewable energy source to meet their demands.
Just like conventional sources of energy, renewable energy to has its trade-offs. But these trade-offs are tempered by its benefits such as little or no greenhouse pollution, low maintenance requirements, low land, water and air pollution, and other countless health and environment benefits. But do we have access to an energy source which ticks all these boxes? Lucky for us, we do. Solar energy is a vital cog in the wheel of renewable energy, and it hits all the cylinders in this arena!
How does Solar Energy Work?
The word "solar energy" is pretty much self-explanatory. It works on the principle of converting sunlight into electricity. The energy provided by the sun is so powerful that it can meet the global energy demand for an entire year! Jaw-dropping right? But we are not able to harness even a small fraction of this energy yet. However, the technology of solar panels is indubitably a step in the right direction.
Each photon of sunlight that reaches the earth is a storehouse of energy. This energy can be captured and harnessed in many ways to provide fuels which can satisfy any needs we might have. To capture solar energy, a module called a solar panel is used. Solar panels contain photovoltaic cells that can take in photons and convert it to electricity. However, this electricity is DC and DC is not sufficient.
A central inverter in houses is connected to the solar panels that convert the DC electricity to AC electricity. This is the electricity that provides solar power for homes.
Advantages of Solar Energy
Solar energy has multiple advantages over other sources of energy.
1. It is Renewable:
Solar energy is indubitably one of the most efficient renewable energy source available to the world. It is easily accessible and is powerful. According to scientists, sunlight is going to be available to humans for at least 5 million years from now. And the way technology is progressing, we will soon witness solar energy take over the conventional fuels in the future.
2. Diverse Applications:
As long as you have the sun shining over you, you can generate solar energy anywhere. Solar panels can capture light the entire day and can even be deployed in remote areas. It can be used to improve the lives of millions of people and even powerboats and spacecraft.
3. They are Low Maintenance:
Once installed, solar panels don’t require much looking after. The only maintenance they require is keeping them clean a couple of times a year. Also, as the solar panels do not consist of any moving parts, there is no wear and tear involved. Unlike other technologies, solar panels don’t require much space. They can be installed almost anywhere as long as there is sunlight in that area. So you can rest assured that you will have to spend little money after covering the initial installation costs.
4. Safe to Use:
Unlike nuclear power plants, solar panels don’t emit any radiation or leak. They also never catch on fire. The only thing you're getting out of a solar panel is clean and cheap electricity. You too can turn your house into a solar power hulk by using Greenpeace solar panels and Green Energy solar panels.
Solar Energy Developments in India
India is unequivocally hitting the gas when it comes to developing solar power-driven technology. Do you know where India ranks in solar energy production in the world? It ranks 5th! This fact surely makes us proud!
The solar energy industry is developing fast in India with the capacity reaching 37.627 GW in March 2020. To combat climate change and keep the global rise in temperature under 1.5 degrees, the government of India has its target to reach 100 GW capacity by 2022. To promote the use of solar panels, India has established 42 solar parks. Solar products are also being used increasingly, especially in rural areas.
Furthermore, to achieve its target of 100 GW capacity by 2022, the government has announced that solar projects commissioned up to 2022 will be exempted from Inter-State Transmission System charges and losses for inter-state sale of solar power. Also, 100% Foreign Direct Investment has been approved by the government under the automatic route.
To enable large scale energy distribution, the Green Corridor Project is being developed to support large scale integration. Moreover, the government has come up with several schemes to empower India's solar energy production. This includes schemes such as Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha evam Utthan Mahabhiyan Yojana (PM-KUSUM), CPSU (Government producers) Scheme Phase-II and Solar Rooftop Phase-II Program.
The Thar desert of India generates 700-2100 GW of electricity and is the best solar project in India. The Jawaharlal Nehru National Solar Mission is also targeting up to 20,000 MW of solar energy by 2022. Gujarat's solar power policy too generates 1,000 MW of solar energy.
Apart from this, 66MW of solar energy power plants are also set up to provide energy to rural areas. Solar energy is being encouraged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The cost of solar energy has also come down by two thirds in the last 5 years.
Scope of Solar Energy in India
India’s dependence on fossil fuel imports from other countries has been increasing in recent years. Almost 40% of all our fuel is imported. This is alarming.
The scope of solar energy in India is tremendous. Due to the geographical location of our country, India receives 3000 hours of sunshine throughout the year. India can hence, reap the benefits of solar energy efficiently. States such as Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Orissa, Punjab, and a West Bengal have huge potential to be solar superpowers.
Solar energy can help reduce the usage of dung cakes, firewood, and coal in rural households. Many projects have been initiated by the Government of India to help fulfill our solar energy dream. Thus India has a large potential to generate solar energy that will not only help fulfil the country's power demand but also contribute to Green Energy production, thereby preventing further climate change.
With people using more and more electricity, active efforts are being made to use more renewable technologies like solar energy. Even with the reduced costs, using only solar energy won’t be cheap. Storing and distributing energy is very expensive. But this won’t be an issue with solar energy as it can be easily decentralized.
Germany, the leading nation in renewable energies, has about 1.5 million households that have solar panels installed. They consume it domestically or feed it to local grids. The future of solar energy in India shines as bright as the sun! If India could implement this in a much more decentralized manner, solar energy could indubitably become the solar power leader of the world!